Alise Willoughby Wins and Daleny Vaughn third 2024 UCI World Championships 1130x600
Team USA

Willoughby and Vaughn Take Gold and Bronze at 2024 UCI BMX Racing World Championships and Are Nominated for Paris 2024 Olympic Games

By: Angelina Palermo  May 18, 2024

Alise Willoughby wins her third World Title and is nominated for her fourth Olympic Games.

The 2024 UCI BMX Racing World Championships concluded today at the Rock Hill BMX Supercross Track. Team USA scored four podiums: Alise Willoughby (Saint Cloud, Minn.; Team Toyota/ Daylight Cycle Co.) and Daleny Vaughn first and third in Elite Women, Patrick (PJ) O’Brien (Punta Gorda, Fla.; Davis Racewear) silver in U23 Men, and Ava Corley (La Mirada, Calif.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team) bronze in Junior Women. With two athletes clinching their spots for Paris, the final team will be announced in June including the remaining Women’s and Men’s team members.


The Elite Women’s race was stacked from the beginning. In the premier event for Team USA, four women made up the eight-person gate in the Elite Women’s finals. Alise Willoughby (Saint Cloud, Minn.; Team Toyota/ Daylight Cycle Co.) was first out of the gate and never looked back winning her third World Championship title and securing her nomination for her fourth Olympic Games. She won her first World title on this same track in 2017.

Willoughby said, “Honestly, I always say this place has a special place in my heart and I wanted to deliver here. U.S. fans, U.S. based everything - I put in the work, Sam [Willoughby] at my side the whole way and here we are again.” She went on to say, “It is such an honor to deliver on the day. When you dream of it, when you hope for it, but doing it is a whole other thing. This feeling is so special. My family, my friends, fans, husband, coaches, staff, that have been here for this very long ride that continues. I’m just so proud to say that I’m still rising to potential.”

Daleny Vaughn (Tucson, Ariz.; DK Bicycles) knew the mission for today was a top three finish which would automatically nominate her for the Olympic Team. She rode strong, holding third position the entire lap, crossing the line securing a bronze medal. After the race Vaughn was asked about punching her ticket to Paris and said, “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I am super excited. I have had this goal in mind for so many years now, and to check the box just feels so good.”

Felicia Stancil (Lake Villa, Ill.; Factory SSquared/Answer) looked fast all day, finishing fourth in the main event. Carly Kane (Guilford, Ind.; Huffy Bicycles) had an incredible run making the elite main event and finishing in sixth.

Payton Ridenour (Pottstown; Penn.; Mongoose Bicycles) won her quarter-final lap, but unfortunately, she finished fifth in semi, just missing out on the main event. In quarters, Lexis Colby (Surprise, Ariz.; Supercross BMX) barely got around a crash in turn one and fought hard for the rest of the lap, but would not transfer to the next round.


In quarter-finals, Cameron Wood (Peoria, Ariz.; Mongoose Bicycles) got crashed out by a competitor right out of the gate, ending his day earlier than expected. In the next heat, Corben Sharrah (Tucson, Ariz.; Daylight Cycle Co.) got caught behind a rider heading into the first turn and would not advance to the next round. Jeremy Smith (Seminole, Fla.; Hyper Bicycles) had a fast lap in the quarter-finals finishing third, but a crash in turn one of the semis left him out of the main event.


McKenzie Gayheart (Fort White, Fla.; Factory Full Tilt/ Radio), Breanna Winter (Antelope, Calif.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team), Jacy Moore (Port Orchard, Wash.; Impact BMX Racing), and Keiley Shea (La Habra, Calif.; 316 Racing) all made it into the semi-finals. Gayheart had a hard fight in her semi heat but clinched the final transfer. In the main, she crashed on the starting hill to finish eighth on the day.


Patrick (PJ) O’Brien (Punta Gorda, Fla.; Davis Racewear), Ethan Popovich (Valparaiso, Ind.; Haro Bikes), James Cutter Williams (Potomac Falls, Va.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team), and Weston Meurlot (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; 110% Nutrition BMX Race Team) were the four to get in the gate for their quarter-final heats. Merlot got caught in a crash and did not transfer. Williams and Popovich finished third and fourth in a photo finish in their heat along with O’Brien taking third, making it into the semis. The next round was crash ridden for many of the racers. Williams got pushed out on the third straight missing out on the transfer spot. In the second heat, a huge pile up in the first turn gave O’Brien and Popovich a clear run straight to the finish line, putting both of them in the main event. O’Brien went on to ride an incredibly strong main event to finish with a silver medal. Popovich placed seventh.


Ava Corley (La Mirada, Calif.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team) looked strong all day finishing her rounds in first and second. She went into the main event looking for a medal and took bronze. That marked her second Junior World Championship bronze medal in her last year racing the category. Alexis Alden (Peachtree City, Ga.; Albe’s Bike Shop) made her way into the main event behind Corley, but crashed in the first turn in the finals. She finished the day in seventh.

In the first heat of the semi-finals, Savanna Stokes (Las Vegas, Nev.; Mongoose Bikes) came up short and would not advance, and Rita Fedewa (Fort Collins, Colo.; Impact BMX Racing) had a hard crash on the starting hill.


Cedric Cade (Henderson, Nev.; Impact BMX Racing) was the only junior to make it into the semi-finals after winning his heat in quarters. He had a strong start in the semis, but made a small mistake missing the final transfer spot. Deegan Brown (San Jose, Calif.; Supercross BMX) and Sean Day (Tacoma, Wash.; Factory Full Tilt/ Radio) both crashed out of their semi-final heats.